Herpes Simplex Virus
• HSV type 1 (HSV-1)
• HSV type 2 (HSV-2)
• Common infections involve:
- skin, eye, oral cavity, and genital tract.
• In healthy: mild and self-limiting
• immunocompromised and newborn:
the infection may be severe and life threatening.
• First time
• No previous immunity
• Can be severe
Nonprimary 1st infection
• previous infection
• Cross immunity between the two
• Less severe
• less severe
• shorter duration than 1st infections.
• Commonly Asymptomatic
• No physical distress
• They are contagious
• HSV-1 and HSV-2 have a similar genetic
• One important difference in the 2 viruses is
their glycoprotein G genes So:
• accurate, type-specific serologic tests is used
to know whether a patient has been infected
with HSV-1, HSV-2, or both
• The only natural host is humans,
• transmission is ONLY direct contact between
• All infected individuals harbor latent infection with
recurrent infections, which may be asymptomatic,
and are periodically contagious.
• HSV-1 and HSV-2 are equally capable of causing
initial infection at any anatomic site
• HSV-1 causes more recurrent oral infections,
• HSV-2 causes more recurrent genital infections.
• HSV-1 infections are more common during childhood and adolescence but are
also found throughout later life.
• HSV-1 prevalence increase with age:
- 44% in adolescents 12–19 yr
- 90% >70 yr of age.
• overall prevalence of HSV-2 is only 21.9%.
• Prevalence of HSV-2 also increased steadily with age females> males
• HSV-2 increase with:
- less education,
- cocaine use,
- increase number of sexual partners.
• pre-existing HSV-1 antibodies decreases the attack rate for HSV-2 infection,
and protect against symptomatic genital herpes.
• is uncommon but potentially fatal infection of the
fetus or the newborn.
• The increase in neonatal herpes cases parallels the
increase in cases of genital herpes.
• > 90% of the cases are the result of maternal-fetal
• HSV is a leading cause of sporadic, fatal encephalitis
in children and adults.
Pathogenesis of Herpes Simplex
• In the immunocompetent:
- viral replication in skin and mucous membranes followed by
- replication and spread in neural tissue.
- Viral infection begins at a cutaneous portal of entry as the oral cavity,
genital mucosa, ocular conjunctiva, or breaks in keratinized epithelia.
-Virus replicates locally, resulting in the death of the cell and sometimes
produces clinically apparent inflammatory responses as the characteristic
herpetic vesicles and ulcers.
- Virus also enters nerve endings and spreads beyond the portal of entry to
sensory ganglia by intraneuronal transport.
- Virus replicates in some sensory neurons, and go back to the periphery,
where they are released from nerve endings and replicate further in skin
or mucosal surfaces.
- most HSV infections are subclinical.
• In some infected neurons the infection is
• Intermittently virus begins to replicate.
• transported within nerve fibers back to
cutaneous sites of the initial infection,
• Recurrent infections may be symptomatic.
• virus is shed at the site and can be transmitted
to susceptible individuals.
• not appear in the immunocompetent host
• can occur in neonates, individuals with eczema, and severely
malnourished children and with HIV infection
• Viremia can result in dissemination of the virus to visceral organs,
including the liver and adrenals. Hematogenous dissemination of virus to
the central nervous system appears to only occur in neonates.
• Transmission occurs during delivery,
• portals of entry are the conjunctiva, mucosal epithelium of the nose and
• With antiviral therapy, virus replication may be restricted to the site of
inoculation (the skin, eye, or mouth).
• Latent infection is established during neonatal infection, and survivors
may experience recurrent cutaneous and neural infections.
• skin vesicles and shallow ulcers.
• small, 2–4 mm vesicles that may be
surrounded by an erythematous base.
• after few days causing ulcers.
• Most infections are asymptomatic or
unrecognized as small skin fissures.
Acute Oropharyngeal Infections
• Herpes gingivostomatitis most often affects children 6 mo to 5 yr
• It is an extremely painful condition with sudden onset, pain in the mouth,
drooling, refusal to eat or drink, and fever of up to 40.0–40.6°C.
• The gums become markedly swollen, and vesicles may develop
throughout the oral cavity, including on the gums, lips, tongue, palate,
tonsils, and pharynx
• During the initial phase of the illness there may be tonsillar exudates
suggestive of bacterial pharyngitis.
• Tender submandibular, submaxillary, and cervical lymphadenopathy are
• The breath may be foul as a result of overgrowth of anaerobic oral
• Untreated, the illness resolves in 7–14 days, although the
lymphadenopathy may persist for several weeks.
• In older children, adolescents, may manifest as
pharyngitis and tonsillitis not gingivostomatitis.
• indistinguishable from streptococcal pharyngitis
with fever, malaise, headache, sore throat, and
white plaques on the tonsils.
• The course of illness is typically longer than for
untreated streptococcal pharyngitis
• Fever blisters, or cold sores, are the most
common manifestation of recurrent HSV-1
• lesions sometimes occur on the nose, chin,
cheek, or oral mucosa.
• burning, tingling, itching, or pain 3–6 hr
before the development of the herpes lesion.
• Complete healing within 6–10 days.
• result of skin trauma with macro- or micro-abrasions
and exposure to infectious secretions.
• initial cutaneous infection establishes a latent
infection that can subsequently result in recurrent
infections at or near the site of the initial infection.
• Pain, burning, itching, or tingling often precedes the
herpetic eruption by a few hours to a few days.
• cutaneous HSV infection results in multiple discrete
lesions and involves a larger surface area.
• HSV infection of fingers or toes,
• commonly seen in infants and toddlers who suck their thumb or fingers
and who are experiencing either a symptomatic or a subclinical oral HSV-1
• becomes erythematous and tender and may appear to contain pus,
although if incised, little fluid is present.
• Incising the lesion prolongs recovery and increases the risk for secondary
• persist for about 10 days, complete recovery in 18–20 days.
• severe or life threatening in patients with disorders of the skin such as
eczema (eczema herpeticum), burns,
• If untreated, these can progress to disseminated infection and death.
• Recurrent infections are common but generally less severe than the initial
• common in sexually experienced adolescents and young adults,
• up to 90% of infected individuals are unaware they are infected.
• genital-genital transmission (usually HSV-2) or oral-genital transmission
• Symptomatic and asymptomatic shed virus and transmit the infection to
• pregnant woman transmits infection to her newborn.
• local burning and tenderness before vesicles develop
• Vesicles rupture to produce shallow, tender ulcers covered with a yellowish
gray exudate and surrounded by an erythematous border.
• Vesicles on keratinized epithelium persist for a few days before progressing
to the pustular stage and then crusting.
• Patients may develop urethritis and dysuria severe enough to cause urinary
retention and bilateral, tender inguinal and pelvic lymphadenopathy.
• Women may experience a watery vaginal discharge and men a
clear mucoid urethral discharge.
• Significant local pain and systemic symptoms including fever,
headache, and myalgia are common.
• Aseptic meningitis develops in an estimated 15% of cases.
• The course of classical primary genital herpes, from onset to
complete healing, is 2–3 wk
• at least 1 recurrent infection in the following year.
• Recurrent genital herpes is usually less severe and of shorter
duration than the primary infection.
• Genital HSV infection increases the risk for acquiring HIV
• involve the conjunctiva, cornea, or retina and may be primary
• usually unilateral and often associated with blepharitis and
tender preauricular lymphadenopathy.
• Patients typically have fever.
• Untreated infection generally resolves in 2–3 weeks.
• repeated recurrences can cause progressive corneal scarring
and injury that can lead to blindness.
• Retinal infections are rare and are more likely among infants
with neonatal herpes and immunocompromised persons with
disseminated HSV infections
• sporadic, nonepidemic encephalitis
• It is an acute necrotizing infection generally
involving the frontal and/or temporal cortex
and the limbic system
• beyond the neonatal period, is almost always
caused by HSV-1.
• The infection may present with nonspecific findings,
including fever, headache, neck rigidity, nausea,
vomiting, generalized seizures, and alteration of
• Injury to the frontal or temporal cortex or limbic
system may produce findings more indicative of HSV
encephalitis, including anosmia, memory loss,
peculiar behavior, expressive aphasia and other
changes in speech, hallucinations, and focal seizures.
Central Nervous System Infections
• The untreated infection progresses to coma and
death in 75% of cases.
• Examination of the cerebrospinal fluid typically
shows a moderate number of mononuclear cells and
polymorphonuclear leukocytes, a mildly elevated
protein concentration, a normal or slightly decreased
glucose concentration, and often a moderate
number of erythrocytes.
• HSV is also a cause of aseptic meningitis and is the
most common cause of recurrent aseptic meningitis
Infections in Immunocompromised Persons
• Severe and life-threatening
• including neonates, the severely malnourished, those with primary and
secondary immunodeficiencies diseases including AIDS, and those on
some immunosuppressive regimens, particularly for cancer and organ
• Mucocutaneous infections, including mucositis and esophagitis, are most
common, although their presentations may be atypical and can result in
lesions that slowly enlarge, ulcerate, become necrotic, and extend to
• Other HSV infections include tracheobronchitis, pneumonitis, and
• Disseminated infection can result in a sepsis-like presentation, with liver
and adrenal involvement, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, and
• Intrauterine and postpartum infections are well described but occur
• Postpartum transmission may be from the mother or another adult with a
nongenital (typically HSV-1) infection such as herpes labialis.
• transmission, usually during passage through a contaminated infected
birth canal of a mother with asymptomatic genital herpes.
• Transmission is well documented in infants delivered by C/S
• < 30% of mothers have a history of genital herpes.
• The risk for infection is higher in infants born to mothers with primary
genital infection (>30%) compared to recurrent genital infection (<2%).
• Use of scalp electrodes may also increase risk.
• typically have skin vesicles or scarring,
• chorioretinitis and keratoconjunctivitis, and microcephaly or
hydranencephaly that are present at delivery.
• Few infants survive without therapy, and those that do
generally have severe sequelae.
• Infants infected during delivery or postpartum present with 1
of 3 patterns of disease:
• (1) disease localized to the skin, eyes, or mouth;
• (2) encephalitis with or without skin, eye, or mouth (SEM)
• (3) disseminated infection involving multiple organs,
including the brain, lungs, liver, heart, adrenals, and skin
• Infants with SEM disease generally present at 5–11 days of life
and typically develop a few small vesicles,
• If untreated, infants with SEM disease may progress to
develop encephalitis or disseminated disease.
• Infants with encephalitis typically present at 8–17 days of life
with clinical findings suggestive of bacterial meningitis,
including irritability, lethargy, poor feeding, poor tone, and
• Fever is relatively uncommon, and only about 60% have skin
• If untreated, 50% will die and most survivors have severe
Disseminated HSV infections
• become ill at 5–11 days of life.
• similar to bacterial sepsis with hyper- or hypothermia,
irritability, poor feeding, and vomiting.
• They may have respiratory distress, cyanosis, apneic spells,
jaundice, purpuric rash, and evidence of central nervous
system infection; seizures are common.
• Skin vesicles are seen in about 75% of cases.
• If untreated, the infection causes shock and DIC;
• 90% die,
• survivors have severe neurologic sequelae
• isolation of virus or detection of viral antigen or more often viral DNA by
polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
• Histologic findings or imaging studies may support the diagnosis but
should not substitute for virus-specific tests.
• HSV immunoglobulin M (IgM) tests are notoriously unreliable, and the
demonstration of a 4-fold or greater rise in HSV-specific IgG titers between
acute and convalescent serum samples is only useful in retrospect.
• Virus culture remains the gold standard for diagnosing HSV infections.
• The highest yield comes from rupturing a suspected herpetic vesicle and
vigorously rubbing the base of the lesion to collect fluid and cells.
• PCR for detection of HSV DNA is highly sensitive and specific and in some
instances can be done rapidly.
• examining CSF in cases of suspected HSV encephalitis.
• neonate with suspected HSV infection:
- cultures of lesions as eye and mouth swabs,
-PCR of cerebrospinal fluid.
• treatment should be initiated before result.
• Three antiviral drugs—acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir—
• Acyclovir has the poorest bioavailability and hence requires more frequent
• Valacyclovir, and famciclovir, both have very good oral bioavailability and
are dosed once or twice daily.
• Only acyclovir has an intravenous formulation.
• Early initiation of therapy results in the maximal therapeutic benefit.
• All 3 drugs have an exceptional safety profile and are safe to use in
• Doses should be modified in patients with renal impairment.
• Topical trifluorothymidine, vidarabine, and idoxuridine are used in the
treatment of herpes keratitis.
Acute Mucocutaneous Infections
• oral acyclovir (15 mg/kg/dose 5 times a day PO for 7 days,
maximum 1 g/day) started within 72 hr of onset reduces the
severity and duration of the illness.
• Pain associated with swallowing may limit oral intake of
infants and children, placing them at risk for dehydration.
Intake should be encouraged through the use of cold
beverages, ice cream, and yogurt.
• For herpes labialis, oral treatment is superior to topical
• For treatment of a recurrence in adolescents:
- valacyclovir (2,000 mg bid PO for 1 day),
- acyclovir (200–400 mg 5 times daily PO for 5 days), or
- famciclovir (500 mg tid PO for 5 days)
Acute Mucocutaneous Infections
• herpetic whitlow: High-dose oral acyclovir
(1,600–2,000 mg/day divided in 2–3 doses PO
for 10 days)
• Antiviral drugs are not effective in the
treatment of HSV-associated erythema
• acyclovir (400 mg tid PO for 7–10 days),
• famciclovir (750 mg tid PO for 7–10 days), or
• valacyclovir (1000 mg bid PO for 7–10 days).
• HSV ocular infections can result in blindness.
• Management should involve consultation with
an ophthalmologist .
Central Nervous System Infections
• intravenous acyclovir (10 mg/kg every 8 hr
given over a 1 hr infusion for 14–21 days).
Infections in Immunocompromised Persons
• intravenous acyclovir (5–10 mg/kg or every 8
• less severe HSV infections:
Oral acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir
• high-dose intravenous acyclovir (60 mg/kg/day
divided every 8 hr IV).
• Infants with HSV disease limited to skin, eyes,
and mouth should be treated for 14 days,
• disseminated or central nervous system disease
should receive 21 days of therapy.
• Most HSV infections are self-limiting,
• Life-threatening conditions include neonatal
herpes, herpes encephalitis, and HSV
infections in immunocompromised patients,
burn patients, and severely malnourished
infants and children.
• Recurrent ocular herpes can lead to corneal
scarring and blindness .
• Good handwashing and the use of gloves
• good hygienic practices, including
handwashing and avoiding contact with
lesions and secretions during active herpes
• Schools and daycare centers should clean
• Recurrent genital HSV infections can be prevented by
the daily use of oral acyclovir, valacyclovir, or
famciclovir, and these drugs have been used to
prevent recurrences of oral-facial (labialis) and
cutaneous (gladiatorum) herpes.
• Oral and intravenous acyclovir has also been used to
prevent recurrent HSV infections in
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